Ghana is characterized by a rich tropical climate that is fairly favorable for the growth of plants and forests. In Ghana, agriculture, including forestry plays a significant role for the growth of the economy; in a sense, it is the backbone of the sprawling economy. Agriculture provides approximately 43% of the GDP and a large percentage of the export earnings and the total employment offered. Forestry alone, accounts for 6 percent of the export earnings.
Most of the population that is located in rural areas relies on forestry for lumber and timber, which is the main source of livelihood for the people. Forests are also valued in communities because of their capacity to provide food, furniture, shelter, and natural medicine, which is an essential component of any health system in Africa. As such, the timber and lumber industry in Ghana is one of the most important earners of foreign exchange in the country.
The industry is one of the fastest growing manufacturing businesses. Because of the continued use of the timber derived from the high forests, Ghanaians are growing increasingly concerned over the sustainability of the volumes of harvesting that has occurred over the years. Additionally, as the scope of wood products for exports has increased, as has the domestic consumption of wooden products by the locals, the government has been forced to create policies that have led to increased regulations in the Ghana lumber industry.
Needless to say, it figures a large part in the import, export, local, and global economy – and here’s a primer on why so.
Ghanaian Raw Log Production: An Historical Look
The lumber industry presently mass produces an abundance of wood products for use both domestically and for export purposes. Log production was popular until 1994 when the production numbers dropped suddenly. Today, the main consumers of domestic logs include processing mills, plywood mills and veneer mills.
As a Rural Fuel Source
People in the rural areas primarily use wood as fuel. Aside from using the wood to start fires, wood is also used for the production of charcoal that is then used for energy production for heating purposes as well as for cooking. Most of the wood that is used to create charcoal comes from savanna trees.
Ghanaian Production of Finished Lumber Products and Handicrafts
Timber is used to produce veneers that comprise of sliced, jointed, rotary or reconstituted veneers. These items are used to produce wood based products such as chipboards, blackboards and profile boards that are distributed and used in various parts of the country.
Although the industry is characterized by the overconsumption of wood and the use of outdated lumber equipment, the government is keen on introducing policies that aim to standardize the industry, so that locals can depend less on products that have been created abroad.
So the next time you work on a project that involves lumber or any wood at all, check whether you have access to strong and sturdy industrial-strength Ghanaian timber – you’ll be surprised at its quality.